We hear a lot of chatter around intranets, given we are an intranet software provider. We’ve talked to customer and prospects to learn what they typically search for when considering intranet software. Because intranets have existed for a couple of decades now, it’s important to be aware that traditional intranets of the past do not serve the current evolving workplace. As a result, the old notions of a intranet software still remains today. In this blog post, we put together the top intranet myths that we’ve set out to debunk.
Intranet Myth #1: My organization is unique and needs custom intranet workflows
Reality: Custom intranet software FAILS!
85% of intranet software is either homegrown or built on configurable platforms like SharePoint. In these scenarios, it takes an average of 1.2 years to launch an intranet. What’s worse, this approach creates a dependency on IT. They need to stand it up. They need to maintain it. Once you accept that you’re not that unique, a purpose-built intranet frees up a lot of advantages: 1. It will be built by usability experts so users will find it more engaging 2. Search and AI technology will be better and 3. This enables point-and-click administration to business users, like everyone in this room, can manage without the IT dependency.
Intranet Myth #2: Intranets need intricate site structures and menu hierarchies
Reality: People are trained to use search
We recently had a customer present their rollout to our company. And they’ve been a great advocate/reference for us. But she was enthused about how her new intranet had built out over 70 new sites with very intricate design and site structures-she called each site’s homepage a storefront and encouraged her site managers to spruce them up. We couldn’t help but think that all of this work will go to waste. When people want to find information, they don’t click navigation paths, they search. If you’re buying light bulbs from Amazon, you could click on Home & Kitchen > Tools & Home Improvement > Lighting. But you likely jump straight into search. Intranet users do the same thing. More than half of our current R&D goes into data science, AI, and analytics behind the scenes to provide a better search and more personalized content. That’s because this industry lags behind users’ expectations with search. Furthermore, the simpler the UI the more users will find it intuitive. So we discourage complex navigation.
Intranet Myth #3: Mobile communication apps are a good alternative to intranets
Reality: Mobile is a channel, not a different solution
Mobile is a critical component to your engagement mix and if you haven’t made your intranet mobile you should definitely do so. We have found mobile is a great way to increase recurring adoption, get people to habitually check their intranet like a news app, and get distributed field workers to feel included. Our beef is for some reason people think that app-specific solutions need to be built in addition to their intranet. And that’s doubling the work. The purpose of a intranet software is to connect distributed workers and get everyone on the same page. So it’s asinine to consider separate platforms. Have one intranet. One source of truth. And make sure that is accessible across channels that your users prefer: desktop, mobile, iPad, etc.
Intranet Myth #4: Intranets need to be everything hubs
Reality: Less is more and Intranets should focus on cross-departmental relevance
One of the primary reasons intranets fail is because they become content dumping grounds. Organizations should take a demand-based approach to their intranets. That means using analytics to track what gets read and what’s in demand. If it’s not being read, pull it. If it’s in demand but not there address it. This is part of the reason Simpplr has invested so heavily in analytics because it’s not just about who is accessing the system, it’s about how healthy the system is itself.
Intranet Myth #5: Intranets are the company’s single source of truth
Reality: It’s an impossible goal. You need to integrate, compromise, and have a purpose
We’ve done many surveys. If this audience is representative, more than half of your intranets do not have a stated purpose. Part of the reason is that different departments have different understandings of what an intranet should be. Generally speaking, people in this room want the intranet to be the company’s “Engagement Hub” whereas IT wants it to be a “Single Source of Truth” to access systems and documents. Both are really important. But without clarity of purpose, it’s easy to muddle and create a system that’s over-built and hard to use. You need to be explicit on the intranet’s purpose and use your integrations strategy as a means to connect your highly curated, purposeful, engagement intranet with the rest of the digital workplace.
The Modern Employee Intranet
A lot of these intranet myths are rooted in old, outdated intranet software of the past. Simpplr has taken the mistakes of the past and we’ve designed our intranet to serve most business use cases today. If you’re interested in what Simpplr can do for your organization, view the 3-min demo below: